Netanyahu and Abbas
Photo: Reuters

PA: Israeli promises pliable

Palestinian officials unimpressed by optimistic statements at opening of Washington peace summit, say much is riding on Israel's settlement policies. ''There is a vast difference between making promises, keeping them,' PA source says

Palestinian sources are expressing doubts regarding Israel’s sincerity, hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas launched direct peace talks in Washington Thursday.


A Palestinian official told Ynet Thursday that "experience shows that Israeli promises are very pliable," adding that the Palestinian Authority is waiting to see what will happen after September 26, when the government-declared settlement freeze will officially end.


The sources added that the Palestinians have had their share of promises, and if past agreement were applied, a Palestinian state would have been formed a decade ago.


"There vast difference between making promises and keeping them is just like the difference between 1999 – when a Palestinian state was supposed to be formed according to the Oslo Accords - and today, when Israel wants to begin the entire process anew."


The same sources added that if Israel continued construction in settlements the talks would amount to nothing, adding that the US was trying to devise a plan that would allow Netanyahu to build in certain areas without terminating the negotiations.


The plan, apparently, consists of construction only in large settlement blocs that would remain in Israel's hands in a final-status agreement.


"The Americans have made it clear that no construction beyond this will be accepted, and would be considered a violation on Israel's part," one source said.


The Palestinians also noted that Israel was demanding the right to construct necessary structures that would service the settlements, and that it was possible a US-led team would be established to check the necessity of such construction.


Ynet also learned Thursday that representatives from the US consulate in Jerusalem have patrolled settlements in order to make note of the existing structures so that it will be possible to record new additions if they are built during the coming negotiations.


The sources were skeptical regarding Netanyahu's speech, saying that though it was sufficiently conciliatory, it did not mean Israel was ready to "take significant steps on the ground".


The Palestinians are demanding a strict schedule be set during the talks.




פרסום ראשון: 09.02.10, 22:37
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